Consumers aren't fully aware of, or necessarily enjoying, all that we experience online, according to new research from Ad-Rank Media. 

The poll of 2,000 Brits revealed that as many as 60% don’t even know which search results are adverts from Google, despite the increased regulation where paid for listings must be marked accordingly.

Given the rise in internet usage with 1 in 10 respondents admitting to browsing more than 50 websites a day, the majority still couldn’t differentiate between a genuine search result and a paid ad.

Ad-Rank Media managing director, Chad Harwood–Jones, said: “I find this statistic surprising, given the widespread usage of Google and how often they are featured in the press. Google used to highlight paid for results in highlighted boxes however in recent times the results look very much like non-paid for listings, apart from the small text box containing the abbreviation ‘Ad’”

Spam emails continue to be a source of annoyance for many internet users, with a quarter of UK adults being barraged with more than 25 unsolicited emails every single day. Shockingly, nearly another quarter receive between 11-25 spam emails a day.

Harwood-Jones added: “Email spam continues to plague the internet and with businesses finding new ways around regulation it’s no wonder this issue hasn’t gone away. You only have to look at free wifi zones where you are forced to accept future marketing emails in order to use the internet to see why there is such a problem. This and the increased volume of data being shared between companies as well as being scraped.”

While 70% of respondents said that they always read reviews online before making a final decision on their purchases, less than 50% said that they actually trust online reviews. The feelings of mistrust and unease online go further than just product reviews too – more than half of those surveyed said that they feel worried about their privacy online, and 60% said that they feel internet content is not currently policed effectively enough.

Despite 57% of consumers using social media daily to discover news, there is still uncertainty about the quality and authority of these news sites. A further 60% of people claimed that social media is to blame for the rise in fake news.

Harwood–Jones finished: “Consumer confidence has taken a massive hit since the rise of fake news sites. Unfortunately social media has played a pivotal role in distributing such content, which leaves marketers with the ultimate challenge of ensuring their credibility.”

 

By Jonathan Davies, editor, Digital Marketing Magazine


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